Failed To Personalize Part 1

It was on Dec 7 ago that I noticed that I needed to upgrade my 2022 M2Max MBP to 13.6.2 from 13.6.1. Somewhere along the way, there was a hiccup and the upgrade did not happen. I had made a complete backup of the drive using Carbon Copy Cloner in advance.
So, I shutdown the computer and went to bed. It was late. Repeated the update process and got this alert:

Tried again and same results. A search did not find very much but one user suggested using the “transfer or Reset” command to put the machine back to factory specs.
I did that.
Tried to reinstall the backup I made but FAILED to realize that I needed to do that via the Options Menu (I think). So, I gave up on that
Downloaded a fresh copy from the “options” menu and that was 13.5.1. Tried to upgrade to 13.6.2 and got the same alert: Failed to personalize.
By this time, it is Sunday evening and I am frustrated and beat.
Monday, I am at Apple 10 minutes after they open. Tech support recreates the error in my presence and says that he, and the 7 others standing around had not seen this before.
He wonders why I am not on Sonoma. I explain but that is for another day.
The tech support takes the computer away. Tuesday, Apple calls and wants to install Sonoma because this MBP is INCOMPATIBLE with Ventura. I say that cannot be as the MBP came with Ventura installed. They push, and I push back. Finally he caves.
Wednesday I am told that the computer is working using 13.6.3.
And, when I went to get it, the Tech support person is not there and all his notes say is that they upgraded to 13.6.3.

There was no 13.6.3 on Monday morning. So I am VERY SKEPTICAL that was the only fix.

I do not have a way tp start up the MBP using an external disc. I also at the time did not have Ventura loaded on a USB drive either. (I do now) My thinking is that the SSD had to be erase and reformatted to fix this but I am not 100% sure. I am not 100% sure that if using the USB stick to reload Ventura would erase and reformat the SSD.

So, the question is: Has anyone seen this alert before?
If yes, how do you resolve it?
Can Ventura on a USB stick allow me to erase the internal SSD?
And, probably the most important questions: What did I do to cause this problem and what should I do to prevent recurrence?

This part 2.
Apple gave me back the MBP with a user account created.
So, being stupid, I created my user account and using my backup, I manually reloaded my files onto the SSD. (That is sooooooooo wrong the way to do it.)
But i did,
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I tried to get the machine to work. I keep getting random alerts saying that this or that file needs to be verified, and even after wating an hour, nothing changes.
Saturday evening, I decide to use the "Transfer and Reset” commands to strip all data from the SSD and just leave a hopefully, clean system software.
Then, to be absolutely safe, I created a new user account with a different user name because I thought that by bringing files over that were backup up more than a week ago using the same user name might have caused “confusion” within the MBP and that was causing these “Verification of files” headaches.
Again I manually moved the files (still had not learned my lesson) and the “Verification of files” alert did not recur.
But I had a mess of Permissions issues.

That is for another entry.

Lesson Learned.: I should have started from an absolutely clean slate after the MBP was returned. In fact APPLE should NOT have created an account at all but will not admit that was the problem.

Permissions issues.

After bringing back my backup data to the MBP under a different user name, I had permissions issues.

I use TinkerTool System to help me do that. After seeing what I had, I WISELY stopped doing everything and emailed Dr. Marcel Bresink the very abbreviated histor, a summary of my actions, and what I am seeing. Dr. Marcel Bresink educated me on how to restore files properly and also the changes that Apple has made to the “permissions” issues.
Before Ventura, one could safely erase Acls. Now, one cannot. It use to be that “Staff” had “read only” access. No, Apple generically gives them “no access” and may in fact not me listed at all.
One needed to exercise GREAT CARE if one is changing permissions using his software and then promulgating down to the subfolders and files.

And lastly, he said I did not need to change my user’s name. He said that there is an ID # associated with every user’s name so there was not a chance me using the same name before and after this debacle would have caused any more problems than I was already causing but not properly restoring the data files.

Dr. Marcel Bresink did not address my question on if this “personalization” error could have been resolved by completely erasing the SSD. My guess is that he has not seen this error and therefore did not want to speculate on how to address it.

So, lesson learned. I should have searched the web for the latest guidance on how to restore my data. And, I also learned that worked well in years past maybe an absolutely boner of a way to do it this year.


Clean install including creating an admin account
Then either…

Migration Assistant to recover everything else from a clone or TM backup


Reinstall apps as the admin user
Copy old home directory to /Users
Create daily driver user as a non admin account (there’s no reason for it to be admin and it’s safer not to be) using same name as old home directory and tell it to use the existing one…this fixes all the permissions so it ctually works


Restore from TM backup.

For myself…if I’m sending it in and it works, I backup and create a new admin account for them, login as that user to verify it works, and put a sticky on the machine with the admin username and password. Personally I trust Apple not to muck about on the drive…and the only thing actually secret on it is my password manager vault which is encrypted anyway.

Migration Assistant is quite smart on issues like this. If it notices that you have already established an account with the same name as the one on the migrated from drive, it will offer to merge that account into the already established one and there will be no permission issues when it completes.

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